Sal­ads through the sum­mer

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Visi R. Ti­lak

When I’m in need of a sum­mer­time “grab and run” meal that has ex­treme fla­vor and crunch, chopped sal­ads are my an­swer. The ones I turn to most are easy to pack and don’t re­quire cook­ing.

In­spired by the South­ern In­dian car­rot coleslaw my mother would make for us kids, I now toss to­gether finely chopped car­rots, sprouted lentils, jalapeño and lime juice. It has mor­phed into many other vari­a­tions for my own fam­ily, like a mash-up with Moroc­can in­flu­ence — the juicy and re­fresh­ing Spicy Beet and Car­rot Coleslaw.

My cu­cum­ber salad is an­other mashup, an ode to North­ern In­dia’s kachum­ber salad and the Mediter­ranean chopped salad: The com­bi­na­tion of Per­sian cu­cum­ber, red onion, tomato and feta cheese stays crisp for a week in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

A friend who has tasted my pineap­ple and pep­per salad loves its burst of tart and sweet fla­vors so much that she made me bring it to her sum­mer party.

Here’s what I might like best about them, though: Chopped sal­ads also can be­come the ba­sis for a meal on their own. Spoon them on slices of chewy cia­batta or French bread. Bun­dle them into a spinach or whole-grain wrap along with a squirt of Sriracha (that’s what I like to do with my chick­pea salad). Or add a lit­tle broth and turn them into gaz­pa­cho in the food pro­ces­sor.

Of course, chopped sal­ads are spo­ton for the grain-bowl trend. Take a travel bowl, fill­ing half the bot­tom layer with cooked bul­gur or mil­let and the other half with greens. Next, a layer of the chopped salad, and then top off the bowl with av­o­cado, dried fruit and/or nuts, or a driz­zle of bal­samic glaze.

These sal­ads will come to your res­cue, as they have come to mine.

Spicy Pineap­ple and Pep­per Salad

6 serv­ings (makes 6 cups)

This salad’s burst of sweet and sour fla­vors, plus a kick from the ser­rano pep­per, make it ex­tremely re­fresh­ing. It sits well in the re­frig­er­a­tor for even a week, and tastes bet­ter as it mar­i­nates in its own juices.

It can be served as a small side dish, as a top­ping for br­uschetta or added to a health­ful grain bowl with rice, lentils, greens and a sliced av­o­cado.

Make ahead: The salad needs to be re­frig­er­ated for an hour or two be­fore serv­ing, and can be re­frig­er­ated for up to 1 week.

From Visi R. Ti­lak.

In­gre­di­ents

2 cups fresh pineap­ple, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 pound)

2 cups red bell pep­per, seeded and cut into 1/4inch pieces (14 ounces to­tal)

2 cups or­ange or yel­low pep­pers, seeded and cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 14 ounces to­tal)

1 medium ser­rano pep­per,

seeded and minced Juice of 1 lime

1 ta­ble­spoon ex­tra-vir­gin

olive oil

1 tea­spoon kosher salt

¼ cup shelled, chopped roasted/un­salted pis­ta­chios, for gar­nish

Di­rec­tions

Com­bine the pineap­ple, pep­pers, lime juice, oil and salt in a mix­ing bowl, toss­ing to coat and in­cor­po­rate. Cover and re­frig­er­ate for at least an hour or two.

Gar­nish with the chopped pis­ta­chios just be­fore serv­ing.

Nu­tri­tion | Per serv­ing: 90 calo­ries, 2 g pro­tein, 16 g car­bo­hy­drates, 3 g fat, 0 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mg choles­terol, 190 mg sodium, 3 g di­etary fiber, 8 g su­gar

Chick­pea, Crisp Ap­ple and Co­conut Salad

6 serv­ings (makes 6 cups) This salad may re­mind some In­di­ans of the tra­di­tional chick­pea and mango snack called a sun­dal. For a dif­fer­ent gaz­pa­cho, mix each serv­ing of this salad with a cup of room-tem­per­a­ture co­conut milk. From Visi R. Ti­lak.

In­gre­di­ents

2 ta­ble­spoons minced shal­lot

1 small jalapeño pep­per, seeded and minced

1 ta­ble­spoon liq­ue­fied co­conut oil

¼ cup ap­ple cider vine­gar 1 tea­spoon sea salt ¼ tea­spoon cane su­gar 2 cups Granny Smith ap­ple, cored and cut into ¼ -inch pieces (from 7 ounces to­tal)

½ tea­spoon fresh lemon juice

2 cups rinsed and drained no-salt-added canned chick­peas (from one 14.5ounce can); may sub­sti­tute raw sprouted chick­peas

2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts

1 cup fresh or frozen/ de­frosted grated co­conut, at room tem­per­a­ture

½ cup finely chopped cilantro

¼ cup roasted, un­salted sun­flower seeds, for gar­nish Di­rec­tions

Whisk to­gether the shal­lot, jalapeño pep­per, co­conut oil, vine­gar, sea salt and cane su­gar in a mix­ing bowl. Let sit for 5 to 10 min­utes.

Toss to­gether the ap­ples and lemon juice in a sep­a­rate bowl, un­til well coated; this will help keep them from brown­ing.

Com­bine the chick­peas, sprouts, co­conut and cilantro in a mix­ing bowl. Stir in the ap­ples, then add the shal­lot mix­ture and toss to coat evenly.

Cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til well chilled.

Gar­nish with the sun­flower seeds just be­fore serv­ing.

Nu­tri­tion | Per serv­ing: 190 calo­ries, 7 g pro­tein, 25 g car­bo­hy­drates, 8 g fat, 6 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mg choles­terol, 370 mg sodium, 7 g di­etary fiber, 9 g su­gar

Spicy Beet and Car­rot Coleslaw

6 serv­ings (makes 6 cups) Here, the tart­ness of the lemon, the sweet fla­vor of the car­rot and beets and the bite of jalapeño com­bine in a stun­ning and palate-tin­gling way. Serve as side dish, as fill­ing for a whole-wheat tor­tilla wrap or as a com­po­nent in a grain bowl.

MAKE AHEAD: The salad can be re­frig­er­ated for up to a week. From Visi R. Ti­lak.

In­gre­di­ents

12 ounces raw beets, peeled and grated (2 cups)

About 5 medium car­rots, scrubbed well and then grated (2 cups)

2 ta­ble­spoons minced shal­lot

1 small jalapeño pep­per, seeded and minced

1 ta­ble­spoon sun­flower seed oil or olive oil 1 tea­spoon sea salt Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts or mixed sprouts

½ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and ten­der stems

Di­rec­tions

Com­bine the beets, car­rots, shal­lot, jalapeño, oil, salt and lemon juice in a stain­proof mix­ing bowl, toss­ing to in­cor­po­rate. If you’re serv­ing the salad right away, mix in the sprouts. If not, cover and re­frig­er­ate for a day, then gen­tly mix in the sprouts just be­fore serv­ing. Gar­nish with the cilantro. Nu­tri­tion | Per serv­ing: 80 calo­ries, 2 g pro­tein, 12 g car­bo­hy­drates, 3 g fat, 0 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mg choles­terol, 430 mg sodium, 3 g di­etary fiber, 8 g su­gar

Cu­cum­ber, Red Onion, Tomato and Feta Salad

8 serv­ings (makes 8 cups) You can also use this as a top­ping for br­uschetta or gar­lic naan.

Make ahead: The bul­gur wheat needs to be soaked overnight in room-tem­per­a­ture wa­ter. The salad can be re­frig­er­ated for up to 4 days.

Per­sian cu­cum­bers are small and thin, with ten­der seeds. From Visi R. Ti­lak.

In­gre­di­ents

1 medium clove gar­lic, crushed

1 tea­spoon freshly ground black pep­per

1 tea­spoon sea salt 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups diced (¼-inch) Per­sian cu­cum­bers (peeled or un­peeled; see head­note)

2 cups diced (¼-inch) heir­loom or vine ripe toma­toes

2 cups diced (¼-inch) red onion

1 cup bul­gur wheat, soaked overnight in room-tem­per­a­ture wa­ter, then drained

1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped fresh mint

1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped pars­ley

1 cup diced (1/4-inch) feta cheese

Di­rec­tions

Whisk to­gether the gar­lic, pep­per, salt, oil and lemon in a mix­ing bowl; let sit for 5 to 10 min­utes.

Add the cu­cum­ber, toma­toes, red onion, the soaked/drained bul­gur, mint, pars­ley and feta to the bowl, then toss gen­tly to in­cor­po­rate with­out crush­ing the cheese.

Re­frig­er­ate just un­til chilled be­fore serv­ing.

Jennifer Chase, The Wash­ing­ton Post

Spicy Pineap­ple and Pep­per Salad.

Pho­tos by Jennifer Chase, Spe­cial to The Wash­ing­ton Post

Chick­pea, Crisp Ap­ple and Co­conut Salad.

Spicy Beet and Car­rot Coleslaw.

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